Etymologically, to “relax” means “to free oneself”, such as the image of the prisoner that we release. It has nothing to do with activities and pastimes which the mention of relaxation brings to mind. Relaxation is a condition whereby there is no dissipation of energy. Your energy goes nowhere; it is simply present, with you, and it envelops you – while it is freeing and regenerating itself. When time stops, relaxation begins and settles in.
Muscular relaxation and the appeasing of tensions eradicate resistances, opposing constantly the conscious return of a trauma. Corporal abandonment allows, in the form of memories, phantasms or corporal symptoms, the eruption to the conscious of the subject of your thoughts and/or strong moments in your history. Practicing relaxation is guiding your body and your spirit towards the re-discovery of this physiological state inscribed in the cellular memory. It is not a question of an artificial and/or exterior dynamic.
On the contrary, we will work towards recovering some of the abilities which have been perverted during your personal history, because, to relax is also to progress in the knowledge of oneself. During a relaxation session, we seek to attain a conscious state of psycho-corporal relaxation. When we say “conscious”, we say, of course, “Focused and detached control of all parasitic thoughts.”
The aim of relaxation consists here in situating the acquired knowledge. A concentrated and focused attitude is required. While reaching new sensations, perceptions and knowledge, the subject saves them in his conscious mind, in view of putting them to effective use during a second phase.
The experience of relaxation proves so surprising to the one who experiments it that he does not recognize its extent. It carries with it a pedagogic value, which broadens the field of possibilities. Each of us, since our tender childhood, indeed, evolves within a micro-culture, which, by definition, is exclusive and excluding. If one’s principles and moral code are sufficiently flexible to tolerate difference, life’s education will prove a success.
However, if, on the contrary, rigidity dominates, any event will then be the object of tensions and resistances – a defensive shield and, at the same time, a prison from which we cannot escape – which will mark the body. Relaxation carves a breach in this defensive system. Any change comes after successful training of the individual’s capacity to let go in the face of traumas, conditionings, pre-suppositions, social or familial determinisms.
Relaxation then makes room for training, for change, for expression and development. It allows us:
- To become aware of tensions and to regulate them, generating a better knowledge of the different situations that we could experience;
- To rehabilitate certain parts of the body, forgotten or mute, enabling us to measure the dosage of expendable energy and of the resulting tensions;
- To feel balanced, which will foster a better-adjusted attitude with regard to perturbing elements; consequently reinforcing our personality and self-confidence;
- Developing our capacity to be open to new things, in other words, to pay more attention to a new phenomenon.
In relaxation, the attention is focused on the body. We are used to paying attention to our body exclusively in moments of pleasure or, more often, when experiencing intense suffering. Here, we “rest” our attention on our body. Then it is not a question of spontaneous attention, but that of a conscious experience, of a whole presence in what is happening, without tension or resoluteness: simply of being, yet engaging the whole of our being.